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Parent Student Handbook

SUMMER-LOWER ACADEMY 2022

SUMMER-UPPER ACADEMY-HIGH SCHOOL  2022

Dear Upper School Families;

Summer is a wonderful time to relax and rest for our students after a wonderful academic year, but summer is also a time to prepare for the challenges and excitement of a new school year.  With that in mind please find the list of books that our students will be reading over the summer to keep their skills sharp during the summer. 

The Shelton Academy English faculty have curated these lists, selecting our favorite texts based on their literary merit, thematic resonance and aesthetic beauty. Every selection features a description written by one of our faculty so that our families have a good understanding of the books our students will be reading. During the first week of next year, students will be asked to present information from their summer reading assignments in creative academic ways. Students should therefore read the text with close attention to theme as well as form.

Theme is the central message of the text, often written as an argument the text is making about a universal idea. Themes are commentaries anchored in abstract nouns like love, joy, faith, hope, solitude, freedom, virtue, etc. Students should always aspire to derive not just the theme word, but also the text’s commentary on that theme (i.e., love requires sacrifice; faith fosters strong connections; solitude facilitates enlightenment).

Form is the way in which the text is written. Elements of form include syntax, diction, imagery and characterization, as well as literary devices like symbolism, metaphor, simile and motif. Students should read a text both for what it says (theme) and for how it says it (form). In 10th and 11th grade, students will also be asked to contemplate the text’s participation in the historical world. How do the form and theme combine with context? What do we learn about political, social and cultural beliefs through the study of a literary work? Finally, students should, to borrow a term from Roland Barthes, enjoy the pleasure of the text. To read should be a joyful act – finding a quiet place, a café, a park bench, a balcony, a bedroom chair, and immersing ourselves in the life and language of another human. What we read may challenge us – and we hope that all the texts on this Summer Reading list invite you to contemplate ideas and arguments that you have yet to contemplate. We, as a community of literary scholars, find pleasure in the challenge of the text. We grow our appreciation for the text by understanding the multitudinous ways that literature calls to us.

Everyone at Shelton Academy wishes you a wonderful, restful summer filled with books; and we look forward to hearing about the themes, forms, contexts and joys that you experienced when we welcome you back to school next year.

God Bless,

Luis M. Dulzaides

Upper School Director

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